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Hawaii governor calls special session for gay marriage

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Gov. Neil Abercombie, D-Hawaii, on Monday called legislators back in session to consider legalizing gay marriage in the state.

“The decision to call a special session is based on doing what is right to create equity for all in Hawaii,” Abercrombie said in a prepared statement published on the governor's website. “As a former legislator, I have great respect for the Legislature and the legislative process. The merits of holding a special session include the opportunity for the Legislature to focus squarely on this important issue, without having to divert attention to the hundreds of other bills introduced during a regular session. In addition, if full advantage of various tax and other financial issues is to be achieved for citizens, passage before the end of the calendar year is essential.”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the governor said, federal administrative rulings have resulted in gay marriages being recognized for federal tax purposes and veterans' benefits.

Abercombie backs Senate Bill 1369,

"It is the intent of the legislature that there be no legal distinction between same-sex married couples and opposite-sex married couples with respect to marriage under the laws of this state," the bill reads. "Thus, the legislature intends that all provisions of law regarding marriage be applied equally to same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples, regardless of whether this act does or does not amend any particular provision of law."

The special session is scheduled for Oct. 28.

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